Erik Olsen

About Erik

Erik Olsen is the head of the Demersal Fish Research group at the Institute of Marine Research, in Bergen, Norway, where he has been working since 1999. Born in Sweden to Norwegian and Swedish parents who worked extensively in developing countries Erik grew up and was educated in Bergen, Norway. He studied at the University of Bergen where he received a BSc in biology (1995), MSc in fisheries biology (1997) and a PhD in fisheries biology in (2002).

Since completing his PhD Erik has worked as a scientist at the Institute of Marine Research primarily on issues related to ecosystem-based monitoring, assessment and management. He has developed and lead the implementation of ecosystem surveys in the Barents sea jointly with the Russian scientists from PINRO, as well as transferring the concepts to developing nations like Mozambique and Sudan through surveys and development programs.

Erik was deeply involved in the development and groundwork for implementing the Norwegian Integrated Management plans, first for the Barents sea, then the Norwegian sea and finally the North Sea. This groundbreaking work in implementing ecosystem-based marine spatial planning has caught worldwide attention and Erik has been an invited speaker to present the Norwegian planning efforts and its scientific base at both scientific and government meetings (e.g. the United Nations).

From 2009-2013 Erik was elected chair of the ICES Science Committee Steering Group on Human Interactions on the Ecosystem. He has chaired several workshops on Marine Spatial Planning as well as being a reviewer and counselor on these issues.

From 2013 to 2015 Erik was working as a visiting scientist at the NOAA Northeast Fisheries Science Center in Woods Hole, Massachusetts where he continued development of the science base, tools (like the Atlantis ecosystem model) and methods for ecosystem-based management and marine spatial planning.

Linking core monitoring, stock-assessment and advisory activities with the development of ecosystem-based management and understanding how this science-based advice feeds into the socio-ecological systems we manage is the focus of Erik's current research.

Research areas:

Reducing uncertainty in stock assessments

  • Developing and implementing methods to estimat the sources and contributions of uncertainty in stock assessments
  • Correction of survey bias and reduction of uncertainty in survey data
  • Evaluation, testing and validation of long-term management strategies
  • Communication of uncertainty and risk (also relevant to oil/gas, aquaculture etc)
  • Ecosystem models

  • Skill assessment of the Northeast US Atlantis model
  • Spatial scenarios (eg. MSP - wind farms) using the Atlantis model
  • Simulating pollution events in ecosystem models
  • Developing and sharing R-statistics functions and scripts for interacting with Atlantis input and output (through GitHub)

    Ecosystem-based management (EBM)

  • Developing and revising Norwegian marine EMBM and MSP
  • The science base of EBM and MSP
  • Role of experts and models in EBM
  • Importance of culture, leadership and integration in marine governance, management and MSP
  • Oil spill assessments and risk

  • Effects of spatial variability in survival on oil spill risk assessments

  • Social media

    Blog posts

  • 14 Feb 2016 » Land O'Hoy! Leaving the winter survey.
  • 04 Feb 2016 » My return to the winter research survey in the Barents Sea
  • 26 May 2015 » Why a marine scientist needs encrypted emails
  • 20 Oct 2014 » Updated Global map of MSP developments
  • 09 Oct 2014 » Marine Spatial Planning in vain?
  • 02 Oct 2014 » Global map of MSP developments
  • 07 Aug 2014 » Integrated Ecosystem Assessment Meeting